Horizon secures £69m in London flotation

Posted by DFJ Esprit, 21 Aug 2014
  • Horizon Discovery, which has been backed by leading European investor DFJ Esprit, secures £68.6m to fuel global growth through oversubscribed IPO
  • Cambridge-based biotech company is only healthcare business in UK Government’s Future Fifty list of most promising tech companies, and only second to float

Embargoed, 00.01, 27 March, 2014: Horizon Discovery Group has become the second of the government’s ‘Future Fifty’ to float on the London Stock Exchange.

The biotech company, which helps drugmakers research the genetic mutations that cause disease, secured £68.6m through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

The Future Fifty identifies UK companies with strong growth and IPO potential. Horizon is the only biotech business on the list, which also includes consumer facing businesses such as AO.com, which floated on London’s main market last month, as well as Just Eat and Zoopla, which are both widely tipped to follow suit.

The growth of Horizon, which was founded in 2008, has been supported with £20m of investment, with DFJ Esprit the first and largest of its venture capital backers.

Horizon is part of the fast emerging personalised medicine industry. The company’s world-leading patented technology provides unique “gene-editing” tools to pharmaceutical giants such as AstraZeneca, Merck, Novartis and Bayer.
The Cambridge-based company recorded a 70% increase in revenues in the last year, with sales reaching £6.6m in 2013, from a customer base that includes more than 800 companies.

Vishal Gulati, new venture partner at DFJ Esprit, said: “Horizon’s flotation shows UK public markets are opening up for world class science and technology based companies, a sector in which Britain leads.

“Horizon’s technology and products are used in thousands of labs around the world conducting translational genomics, drug discovery and diagnostics research and development.  Its customers already include some of the largest healthcare companies across the world and we are looking forward to seeing it prosper following this IPO.”

Horizon’s flotation, which was heavily oversubscribed and gave it a market capitalisation of £120.5m , follows the recent listing of another healthcare business from DFJ’s portfolio. Oxford Immunotec, which floated in November, was the only UK company to list on NASDAQ last year.

Horizon was founded in 2005 by Dr Chris Torrance and Professor Alberto Bardelli and has received around £20m of funding from investors including DFJ Esprit.

The Future Fifty list also features three other DFJ Esprit portfolio companies: snacks-by-post giant Graze and ecommerce businesses Lyst and Achica.